From a K-Mart store on an island of St.Thomas to a crime lab in Phoenix, a record 3,200 buildings have weighed in to compete head-to-head in the Energy Star 2012 National Building Competition.
Energy-efficient upgrades, including building-envelope and heating and cooling systems optimization, are likely to factor heavily in the third annual federally sponsored competition to improve energy efficiency, lower utility costs and protect health and the environment.
|The University of Central Florida slashed a campus parking garage’s energy use by 63.2% in the 2011 Battle of the Buildings.|
Competitors will measure, track and report their building’s monthly energy consumption using Portfolio Manager, the Environmental Protection Agency’s online tracking tool. The progress will available to the public on the competition’s website.
A list of the starting weights is available on the site. Also, the EPA has posted 30 videos to the competition’s YouTube channel.
Overeaters: Commercial Buildings
Commercial buildings in the U.S. are responsible for about 20% of the nation’s energy use and greenhouse gas emissions, racking up more than $100 billion annually in energy bills, EPA said.
In the 2011 battle, the 245 participants saved $5.2 million on their utility bills and prevented nearly 30,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide annually, equal to the emissions from the electricity used by more than 3,600 homes a year, EPA reported.
Wikimedia Commons / Tim1965
|Built in 1820 in Washington, D.C., the Dolley Madison House is one of 82 buildings in the 2012 competition that are at least 100 years old.|
The University of Central Florida won the competition in 2011 by slashing a campus parking garage’s energy use by 63% in one year; see On Energy Star Scale, Biggest 2011 ‘Loser’ is Central Fla. University.
“By improving the energy efficiency of commercial buildings, such as schools, offices, hospitals and retail stores, competitors will reduce energy waste and save on utility bills while protecting the environment and people’s health,” EPA said.
EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson said she wished the best to the 2012 participants—which hail from all 50 states, two U.S. territories and D.C.—but said the biggest winners in the challenge would be the American people, “who will benefit from the innovative ideas that emerge from the competition.”
“As in years past, these ideas will translate into new ways we can all cut energy use, save money on our power bills, and reduce the carbon pollution that is changing our climate,” she said.
The winner and top finalists in each building category will be recognized in April 2013.
Additionally, this year EPA’s WaterSense program, in partnership with Energy Star, will recognize top water-use reducers as a part of the competition.